Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
 
  In this age we have a sort of reviviscence, not, I fear of the power, but of a taste for the power, of the early times.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  1
 
  Exclusively of the abstract sciences, the largest and worthiest portion of our knowledge consists of aphorisms, and the greatest and best of men is but an aphorism.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  2
 
  It is absolutely necessary to recollect that the age in which Shakspeare lived was one of great abilities applied to individual and prudential purposes, and not an age of high moral feeling and lofty principle, which gives a man of genius the power of thinking of all things in reference to all. If, then, we should find that Shakspeare took these materials as they were presented to him, and yet to all effectual purposes produced the same grand result as others attempted to produce in an age so much more favourable, shall we not feel and acknowledge the purity and holiness of genius—a light which, however it might shine on a dunghill, was as pure as the divine influence which created all the beauty of nature?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  3
 
  The paternal and filial duties discipline the heart and prepare it for the love of all mankind. The intensity of private attachment encourages, not prevents, universal benevolence.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  4
 
  For more than a thousand years the Bible, collectively taken, has gone hand in hand with civilization, science, law—in short, with the moral and intellectual cultivation of the species—always supporting, and often leading the way. Its very presence, as a believed Book, has rendered the nations emphatically a chosen race; and this, too, in exact proportion as it is more or less generally known and studied. Of those nations which in the highest degree enjoy its influences it is not too much to affirm that the differences, public and private, physical, moral, and intellectual, are only less than what might have been expected from a diversity of species. Good and holy men, and the best and wisest of mankind, the kingly spirits of history, enthroned in the hearts of mighty nations, have borne witness to its influences, have declared it to be beyond compare the most perfect instrument of Humanity.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  5
 
  In former times a popular work meant one that adapted the results of studious meditation, or scientific research, to the capacity of the people: presenting in the concrete by instances and examples what had been ascertained in the abstract and by the discovery of the law. Now, on the other hand, that is a popular work which gives back to the people their own errors and prejudices, and flatters the many by creating them, under the title of the public, into a supreme and unappealable tribunal of intellectual excellence.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  6
 
  Chance is but the pseudonyme of God for those particular cases which He does not choose to subscribe openly with his own sign-manual.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  7
 
  I have known what the enjoyments and advantages of this life are, and what the more refined pleasures which learning and intellectual power can bestow; and with all the experience that more than threescore years can give, I, now on the eve of my departure, declare to you (and earnestly pray that you may hereafter live and act on the conviction) that health is a great blessing, competence obtained by honourable industry a great blessing—and a great blessing it is to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and relatives; but that the greatest of all blessings, as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is to be indeed a Christian.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  8
 
  If we would drive out the demon of fanaticism from the people, we must begin by exorcising the spirit of Epicureanism from the higher ranks, and restore to their teachers the true Christian enthusiasm, the vivifying influences of the altar, the censer, and the sacrifice.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  9
 
  I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry: that is, Prose is words in their best order; Poetry, the best words in the best order.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  10
 
  In what way, or by what manner of working, God changes a soul from evil to good, how He impregnates the barren rock—the priceless gems and gold—is to the human mind an impenetrable mystery in all cases alike.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  11
 
  On the Greek stage, a drama, or acted story, consisted in reality of three dramas, called together a trilogy, and performed consecutively in the course of one day.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  12
 
  Thelwall thought it very unfair to influence a child’s mind by inculcating any opinions before it had come to years of discretion to choose for itself. I showed him my garden, and told him it was my botanical garden. “How so?” said he; “it is covered with weeds.” “Oh,” I replied, “that is only because it has not yet come to its age of discretion and choice. The weeds, you see, have taken the liberty to grow, and I thought it unfair in me to prejudice the soil towards roses and strawberries.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  13
 
  A fastidious taste will find offence in the occasional vulgarisms, or what we now call “slang,” which not a few of our writers seem to have affected.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  14
 
  Enlist the interests of stern morality and religious enthusiasm in the cause of religious liberty, as in the time of the old Puritans, and they will be irresistible.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  15
 
 
 
  Enthusiasm, visionariness, seems the tendency of the German; zeal, zealotry, of the English; fanaticism, of the French.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  16
 
  The doing evil to avoid an evil cannot be good.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  17
 
  Human experience, like the stern-lights of a ship at sea, illumines only the path which we have passed over.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  18
 
  Never yet did there exist a full faith in the Divine Word (by whom light as well as immortality was brought into the world) which did not expand the intellect, while it purified the heart,—which did not multiply the aims and objects of the understanding, while it fixed and simplified those of the desires and passions.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  19
 
  “We live by faith,” says the philosophic apostle; but faith without principles (on which to ground our faith and our hope) is but a flattering phrase for wilful positiveness or fanatical bodily sensations. Well, and with good right, therefore, do we maintain (and with more zeal than we should defend body or estate) a deep and inward conviction, which is as a moon to us; and like the moon, with all its massy and deceptive gleams, it yet lights us on our way (poor travellers as we are, and benighted pilgrims). With all its spots and changes and temporary eclipses—with all its vain haloes and bedimming vapours—it yet reflects the light that is to rise upon us, which even now is rising, though intercepted from our immediate view by the mountains that enclose and frown over the whole of our mortal life.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  20
 
  The first great requisite is absolute sincerity. Falsehood and disguise are miseries and misery-makers, under whatever strength of sympathy, or desire to prolong happy thoughts in others for their sake or your own only as sympathizing with theirs, it may originate. All sympathy not consistent with acknowledged virtue is but disguised selfishness.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  21
 
  Genius of the highest kind implies an unusual intensity of the modifying power.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  22
 
  Religion is the most gentlemanly thing of the world. It alone will gentilize, if unmixed with cant.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  23
 
  The happiness of mankind is the end of virtue, and truth is the knowledge of the means; which he will never seriously attempt to discover who has not habitually interested himself in the welfare of others.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  24
 
  The fear of hell may indeed in some desperate cases, like the moxa, give the first rouse from a moral lethargy, or, like the green venom of copper, by evacuating poison or a dead load from the inner man, prepare it for nobler ministrations and medicines from the realm of light and life, that nourish while they stimulate.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  25
 
  What though the polite man count thy fashion a little odd, and too precise; it is because he knows nothing above that model of goodness which he hath set himself, and therefore approves of nothing beyond it: he knows not God, and therefore doth not discern and esteem what is most like Him. When courtiers come down into the country, the common home-bred people possibly think their habit strange; but they care not for that—it is the fashion at court. What need, then, that Christians should be so tender-foreheaded as to be put out of countenance because the world looks upon holiness as a singularity? It is the only fashion in the highest court, yea, of the King of kings himself.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  26
 
  The genius of the Spanish people is exquisitely subtile, without being at all acute: hence there is so much humour and so little wit in their literature. The genius of the Italians, on the contrary, is acute, profound, and sensual, but not subtile: hence what they think to be humorous is merely witty.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  27
 
  There is no slight danger from general ignorance; and the only choice which Providence has graciously left to a vicious government, is either to fall by the people, if they are suffered to become enlightened, or with them, if they are kept enslaved and ignorant.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  28
 
  To write or talk concerning any subject, without having previously taken the pains to understand it, is a breach of the duty which we owe to ourselves, though it may be no offence against the laws of the land. The privilege of talking and even publishing nonsense is necessary in a free state; but the more sparingly we make use of it the better.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  29
 
  When a man mistakes his thoughts for persons and things, he is mad. A madman is properly so defined.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  30
 
  You begin with the attempt to popularize learning and philosophy; but you will end in the plebification of knowledge.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  31
 
  Cleverness is a sort of genius for instrumentality. It is the brain of the hand. In literature, cleverness is more frequently accompanied by wit, genius, and sense, than by humour.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  32
 
  The cosmopolitism of Germany, the contemptuous nationality of the Englishman, and the ostentatious and boastful nationality of the Frenchman.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  33
 
  A maxim is a conclusion upon observation of matters of fact, and is merely speculative; a “principle” carries knowledge within itself, and is prospective.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  34
 
  For meditation is, I presume, that act of the mind by which it seeks within, either the law of the phenomena which it has contemplated without, or semblances, symbols, and analogies corresponsive to the same.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  35
 
  Metaphysics are the science which determines what can and what can not be known of being, and the laws of being, a priori.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  36
 
  Shakspeare has portrayed female character, and described the passion of love, with greater perfection than any other writer of the known world, perhaps with the single exception of Milton in the delineation of Eve.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  37
 
  The misery of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year the death of a child; years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhappily;—in all but the singularly unfortunate the integral parts that comprise the sum total of the unhappiness of a man’s life are easily counted and distinctly remembered. The happiness of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute fractions: the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  38
 
  The word nature has been used in two senses; viz., actively and passively, energetic and material. In the first it signifies the inward principle of whatever is requisite for the reality of a thing as existent…. In the second or material sense of the word nature, we mean by it the sum total of all things, so far as they are objects of our senses, and consequently of possible experience,—the aggregate of phenomena, whether existing for our outward senses or for our inner sense.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  39
 
  It cannot but be injurious to the human mind never to be called into effort. The habit of receiving pleasure without any exertion of thought, by the mere excitement of curiosity and sensibility, may be justly ranked among the worst effects of habitual novel-reading. Like idle morning visitors, the brisk and breathless periods hurry in and hurry off in quick and profitless succession; each, indeed, for the moment of its stay, prevents the pain of vacancy, while it indulges the love of sloth; but altogether they leave the mistress of the house—the soul, I mean—flat and exhausted, incapable of attending to her own concerns, and unfitted for the conversation of more rational guests.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  40
 
  I believe that obstinacy, or the dread of control and discipline, arises not so much from self-willedness, as from a conscious defect of voluntary power; as foolhardiness is not seldom the disguise of conscious timidity.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  41
 
  Pedantry consists in the use of words unsuitable to the time, place, and company.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  42
 
  In wonder all philosophy began, in wonder it ends, and admiration fills up the interspace; but the first wonder is the offspring of ignorance, the last is the parent of adoration.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  43
 
  Pleasure consists in the harmony between the specific excitability of a living creature and the exciting causes correspondent thereto.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  44
 
  I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry: that is, prose—words in their best order; poetry—the best words in the best order.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  45
 
  Poetry is not the proper antithesis to prose, but to science. Poetry is opposed to science, and prose to metre…. The proper and immediate object of science is the acquirement or communication of truth; the proper and immediate object of poetry is the communication of pleasure.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  46
 
  Poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  47
 
  In all comic metres, the gulping of short syllables, and the abbreviation of syllables,…. are not so much a license as a law.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  48
 
  Poetry has been to me “its own exceeding great reward:” it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  49
 
  In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  50
 
  It is a strange folly to set ourselves no mark, to propound no end, in the hearing of the gospel.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  51
 
  Burke possessed, and had sedulously sharpened, that eye which sees all things, actions, and events in relation to the laws that determine their existence and circumscribe their possibility. He referred habitually to principles. He was a scientific statesman, and therefore a seer. For every principle contains in itself the germs of a prophecy.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  52
 
  The rules of prudence in general, like the laws of the stone tables, are, for the most part, prohibitive. Thou shalt not, is their characteristic formula; and it is an especial part of Christian prudence that it should be so.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  53
 
  It is the beauty and independent worth of the citations, far more than their appropriateness, which have made Johnson’s Dictionary popular even as a reading-book.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  54
 
  Why are not more gems from our great authors scattered over the country? Great books are not in everybody’s reach; and though it is better to know them thoroughly than to know them only here and there, yet it is a good work to give a little to those who have neither time nor means to get more. Let every book-worm, when in any fragrant scarce old tome he discovers a sentence, a story, an illustration, that does his heart good, hasten to give it.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  55
 
  Force yourself to reflect on what you read, paragraph by paragraph.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  56
 
  Understanding is discursive, and in all its judgments refers to some other faculty as its ultimate authority. It is the faculty of reflection. Reason is fixed, and in all its decisions appeals to itself as the ground and substance of their truth. It is the faculty of contemplation. It is indeed far nearer to sense than to understanding.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  57
 
  There is one art of which every man should be master,—the art of reflection.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  58
 
  It will secure you from the narrow idolatry of the present times and fashions, and create the noblest kind of imaginative power in your soul, that of living in past ages;—wholly devoid of which power, a man can neither anticipate the future, nor even live a truly human life, a life of reason, in the present.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  59
 
  Reader, you have been bred in a land abounding with men able in arts, learning, and knowledges manifold: this man in one, this in another; few in many, none in all. But there is one art of which every man should be a master,—the art of reflection. If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all? In like manner, there is one knowledge which it is every man’s duty and interest to acquire, namely, self-knowledge. Or to what end was man alone, of all animals, endued by the Creator with the faculty of self-consciousness?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  60
 
  The juggle of sophistry consists, for the most part, in using a word in one sense in all the premises, and in another sense in the conclusion.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  61
 
  It is a gentle and affectionate thought, that in immeasurable height above us, at our first birth, the wreath of love was woven with sparkling stars for flowers.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  62
 
  A nation, to be great, ought to be compressed in its increment by nations more civilized than itself.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  63
 
  Talent, lying in the understanding, is often inherited; genius, being the action of reason or imagination, rarely or never.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  64
 
  However irregular and desultory his talk, there is method in the fragments.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  65
 
  There is nothing insignificant,—nothing.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  66
 
  It is more honourable to the head, as well as to the heart, to be misled by our eagerness in the pursuit of truth, than to be safe from blundering by the contempt of it.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  67
 
  In its wider acceptation, understanding is the entire power of perceiving and conceiving, exclusive of the sensibility; the power of dealing with the impressions of sense, and composing them into wholes, according to a law of unity; and in its most comprehensive meaning it includes even simple apprehension.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  68
 
  Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  69
 
  Good works may exist without saving principles, and therefore cannot contain in themselves the principles of salvation; but saving principles never did, never can exist without good works. Men often talk against faith, and make strange monsters in their imagination of those who profess to abide by the words of the apostle interpreted literally, and yet in their ordinary feelings they themselves judge and act by a similar principle. For what is love without kind offices whenever they are possible? (and they are always possible, if not by actions, commonly so called, yet by kind words, by kind looks, and, where these are out of our power, by kind thoughts and fervent prayers!) Yet what noble mind would not be offended if he were supposed to value the serviceable offices equally with the love that produced them; or if he were thought to value the love for the sake of the services, and not the services for the sake of the love?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  70
 
  In a language like ours, so many words of which are derived from other languages, there are few modes of instruction more useful or more amusing than that of accustoming young people to seek the etymology or primary meaning of the words they use. There are cases in which more knowledge, of more value, may be conveyed by the history of a word than by the history of a campaign.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Aids to Reflection, Aphor. 12.    
  71
 
  Let us carry ourselves back in spirit to the mysterious week, to the teeming work-days of the Creator, as they rose in vision before the eye of the inspired historian of the generations of the heavens and the earth, in the days that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. And who that hath watched their ways with an understanding heart could contemplate the filial and loyal bee, the home-building, wedded, and divorceless sparrow, and, above all, the manifoldly intelligent ant-tribes, with their commonwealths and confederacies, their warriors and miners, the husband-folk that fold in their tiny flocks on the honeyed leaf, and the virgin sisters with the holy instincts of maternal love, detached, and in selfless purity, and not say to himself, Behold the shadow of approaching humanity, the sun arising from behind, in the kindling morning of the creation!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Aids to Reflection, App. xxxvi.    
  72
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors